Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has so much for fans to be excited about, especially after a slew of new movies and television series were announced during the Disney Investor Day. While the franchise's television series are set to debut on the Disney+ streaming service, many have wondered what the future could hold for its movies, especially as the theatrical landscape has been in states of flux amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Walt Disney Company has maintained that it doesn't plan to release any Marvel films exclusively on Disney+, a new report from The Wrap hints that the company could be adding an extra clause in the event of that happening. Marvel Studios is reportedly exploring new contract negotiations that would outline both theatrical and streaming compensation plans for MCU films for key cast and crew members.
According to the report, this plan would only cover upcoming Marvel movies that have yet to enter production, beginning with Black Panther 2, which will reportedly begin filming in June of 2021. It is unclear if similar deals are being made for films that have completed production, although the report indicates that that could be a possibility. The plan would apply to above-the-line talent like actors, writers, directors, and producers, and would allow for adjusted compensation in the event of their movie debuting on Disney+ instead of in theaters. This would help make up for the backend bonuses that are traditionally given to key talent based on a film's box office performance.
This detail is certainly an interesting update, especially given how significantly the world of blockbusters has evolved amid the pandemic. Fans have speculated for months about whether titles like Black Widow could end up on Disney+, and Marvel Studios has instead chosen to delay the film's theatrical release into the summer of 2021, in hopes that circumstances surrounding the pandemic will improve by that point. That being said, Disney has moved some of its theatrical releases - namely Mulan and the upcoming Soul - to Disney+, so the idea of having a contingency in place in the event of it needing to happen again makes sense. It also comes amid the backdrop of Warner Bros. releasing its entire 2021 slate both theatrically and on HBO Max, a decision that has reportedly polarized some of the stars attached to those projects, and opened a can of worms in terms of bonuses.